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An Imperial Connection? Contrasting the Coal-mining Accounting Practices of the Northeast of England and Nova Scotia, Canada 1825-1900
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Professor Richard Fleischman
Professor David McCollum-Oldroyd
Fleischman RK, Oldroyd D
Accounting Historians Journal
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The archives of the General Mining Association (GMA), a London-based enterprise with substantial holdings in the Nova Scotian coal-mining industry during the 19th century, are investigated in this paper. The historical record was examined with particular reference to the degree to which industrial costing techniques were transplanted via engineers/managers within the British Empire. The findings support the hypothesis that linkages to Newcastle were evident in Canadian coal mining, but that the accounting emphases differed somewhat between the two locales. In Nova Scotia, there was a great attention to day-to-day expense control. A similar concern was apparent also in the Northeast of England, but here there appeared the additional sophistications of costing capital improvement projects and estimating the profitability of new workings. With regard to labor, the managers of the GMA's Canadian operations, like their counterparts in the Northeast Coalfield, seemed disinterested in tracking the efficiency and productivity of individual miners. We hypothesize this inattention typified an environment wherein labor was scarce and employment alternatives existed for the work force.
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